Bryant arraigned in court; pleads not guilty
Glen Rose City Council member Chris Bryant was arraigned in Somervell County court last Friday, July 1 before County Judge Danny Chambers and pleaded not guilty to a charge of reckless driving. Bryant was accused by the other driver’s wife of trying to “run them off the road.”
The charge stemmed from a May 21 incident in which Bryant and the other driver, Shane Zakery Huckabee, were at the center of what was called a “disturbance in progress” in the 200 block of Brigitte Lane in Glen Rose when a 9-1-1 call was made by John Christopher Bryant, age 49, to the Somervell County Sheriff’s Office Dispatcher.
As the Glen Rose Reporter reported at that time, Huckabee’s fiance Juana Perez emailed the newspaper that Bryant “got mad” when he saw Huckabee “slow roll through the stop sign” and then “pulled in front of Shane sideways stopping him.”
When asked if she could verify one particular comment heard in a video of the incident, Perez stated, “Yes, Chris tried to run them off the road.”
Huckabee, owner of a small local business, and one of his employees were traveling in a work pickup pulling a trailer, through Bryant’s neighborhood. Perez said she was in her vehicle, driving just ahead of them.
Because Bryant is running for re-election to the City Council, he was contacted by the newspaper for an email request for a response to questions, including “They claim that you ran them off the road, blocked them with your vehicle, and that it began because you saw them roll through a stop sign without stopping. They claim that they were not speeding. What was your justification for trying to pull them over instead of letting law enforcement handle it, if their claims are accurate?”
Bryant’s response to that part of the email was, “As for the May 21st occurrence with the two vehicles speeding and blasting through the stop signs, I did do the proper thing and called the Sheriffs office immediately. Unfortunately the violators did give some inaccurate information to the deputy. As of now, the County Attorney will be investigating the incident and reviewing the Audio.
“There are several discrepancies with this incident but I do hope we can come to the conclusion that it is not ok to speed down any street and endanger the lives of innocent people out walking.”
Both Huckabee and Bryant were arrested and released after posting bond. Bryant’s reckless driving charge is a hybrid Class B misdemeanor, and his bond was $1,500, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office.
Huckabee’s bond was $500, for his Class B misdemeanor charge of (DWLI) driving while license invalid. Huckabee also entered a plea of not guilty, also appearing in court July 1.
The next court appearance for Bryant is scheduled for Aug. 14 for a pretrial hearing. No trial date has been set.
A conviction on Bryant’s reckless driving charge carries a potential penalty range of up to 30 days in jail, and/or up to a fine of $200.
Huckabee’s count of DWLI carries a potential of up to six months in jail and/or up to a fine of $2,000.
Bryant’s history also includes a record of a 2013 confrontation with a UPS driver that resulted in a six-person jury finding Bryant guilty of a Class C misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct, according to an article published in November of that year in the Glen Rose Reporter.
Other findings, from the Department of Public Safety criminal records history for John Christopher Bryant (date of birth 9/30/1970), include the following separate incidents:
— Arrested March 17, 1988, charged and convicted in Cleburne on a count of larceny (theft between $20 and $200). He received a sentence of six months of probation.
— Arrested May 13, 1991, on a Somervell County misdemeanor count of reckless conduct. The charge was dismissed on Feb. 19, 1992.
— Arrested May 18, 1997, and pleaded guilty in a Tarrant County criminal court in Fort Worth to a Class A misdemeanor charge of “resist arrest search or transportation.” He pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to six months of probation.